Argument 6: Stand off from this sin, because it is a pit, out of which very few have been recovered that have fallen into. Few are the footsteps of returners from this den. The longer a man lives in it, the less power he has to leave it. It is not only a damning, but an infatuating sin. The danger of falling this way must needs be very great, and the fall very desperate; because few that fall into it do ever rise again. I shall lay two very terrible scriptures before you to this purpose, either of them enough to drive you speedily to Christ, or to drive you out of your wits; the one is, “and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her” (Ecclesiastes 7:26). The argument which the Spirit of God uses here to dissuade from this sin, is taken from the subject; they that fall into it, for the most part, are persons in whom God has no delight, and so in judgment are delivered up to it, and never recovered by grace from it. The other is, “the mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein” (Proverbs 22:14). O terrible word, able to daunt the heart of the securest sinner. Your whore embraces you, yea, but God abhors you! You have their love, O but you are under God’s hatred! What say you to these two scriptures? If you are not atheists, methinks such a word from the mouth of God, should strike like a dart through your soul. And upon this account it is, that they are never recovered, because God has no delight in them. If this be not enough, view one scripture more, “for her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead. None that go to her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life” (Proverbs 2:18-19).
Reader, if you be a person addicted to this sin, go your way, and think seriously what a case you are in. None return again, i.e., a very few of many. The examples of such as have been recovered are very rare. Pliny tells us, the mermaids are commonly seen in green meadows, and have enchanting voices; but there always found heaps of dead men’s bones lying by them. This maybe but a fairy story, but I am sure it is true of the harlot, whose siren songs have lured thousands to their inevitable destruction. It is a captivating sin that leads away the sinner in triumph; they cannot deliver their souls; ” He goes after her straightway, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks” (Proverbs 7:22). Mark, a fool, it dementates and befools men, takes away their understanding, the Septuagint renders it, as a dog to the collar; or, like as we use to say, a dog in a string. I have read of one, that having by this sin wasted his body, was told by physicians, that except he left it, he would quickly lose his eyes; he answered, if it be so, then, farewell sweet light. And I remember, Luther writes of a certain nobleman in his country, who was so besotted with the sin of whoredom, that he was not ashamed to say, that if he might live here for forever, and be carried from one stew to another, he would never desire any other heaven. The greatest conquerors, that have subdued kingdoms, and scorned to be commanded by any, have been miserably enslaved and captivated by this lust. O think sadly upon this argument! God often gives them up to impertinency, and will not spend a rod upon them to reclaim them, “I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that do not understand shall fall” (Hosea 4:14), and, “he that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11).